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Tag: black

FBI Continues to Become Whiter Despite Recruitment Campaign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s campaign to integrate its predominately white ranks has failed to bring more African Americans on board.

In fact, a smaller share of the FBI’s ranks are African American than a decade ago, when black agents made up 6.5% of the ranks. Today, only 4.4% of the bureau’s 13,500 agents are black, even though African Americans represent about 12% of the U.S. population, Intercept reports.

Intercept wrote

“And that’s just the race problem within the FBI. It’s hard to diversify an agency that many still associate with the systemic surveillance, infiltration, and repression of civil rights activists in the past — and which maintains ample discretion today to target individuals and groups it deems suspicious based on criteria that all too often reflect their race or religion. The bureau’s efforts at reform, so far, have been mostly aimed at recruiting a more diverse force. But people of color who do sign up to join its ranks often find themselves isolated as they come face to face with racism and discrimination within the bureau, as well as with the bureau’s often racist and discriminatory policing.”

In July 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey delivered a speech at a historically black university and called the lack of diversity a “crisis,” pledging to reverse the trend.

A year earlier, Comey, in his “hard truths speech,”  declared, “The FBI is overwhelmingly white and male among my agent force. … I have to change the numbers.”

Some experts say the problem isn’t recruitment; it’s alienation.

“National security policies that the public should know about demonstrate racial and ethnic bias that make it hard for people to work there who are not conformists,” Michael German, a former FBI agent and a fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Intercept. “The problem is that the FBI is a very conformist organization. So anybody who publicly criticizes the FBI is ostracized from the wider FBI fraternity – and I say fraternity because it is still almost all male, as well as almost all white.”

 

FBI Director Pledges to Reverse Trend of Fewer Minority Agents

FBI Director James Comey

FBI Director James Comey

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The number of minority FBI agents continues to decline, but bureau Director James Comey pledged to reverse that trend.

Politico reports that 581 African American agents worked at the FBI as of March, down from 606 at the end of 2014.

The number of Latino agents also declined to 882 from 916 in 2014.

“Too early to say whether we’re going to be able to change the inflection of the line. Lots going on in the FBI to try and change that. I’ll probably have a better sense at the end of this year, as to whether we’re seeing a change,” Comey said. “Anecdotally I feel, change in that area, change in the people who are expressing interest. … I don’t know whether that’s our reference or the show Quantico? More to come at the end of the year. I think both are possible.”

Prosecutor Delivers 15-Minute Speech After Grand Jury Decision in Tamir Rice Case

Tamir Rice

Tamir Rice

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A grand jury on Monday decided not to indict two police officers who fatally shot Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy who was playing with a pellet gun.

Here is the transcript of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s speech after the grand jury decision:

One promise I made was to fundamentally change how cases are handled when a police officer kills a civilian, to end the traditional system where the prosecutor privately reviewed police reports, then decided whether an officer should be charged. That secrecy, which appeared arbitrary, without a public investigative report, undermined community confidence. It was clear we needed a more rigorous, independent investigation of police use-of-deadly-force cases.

Although not required by Ohio law, I now have all evidence reviewed not just by the prosecutor in these cases or this office but by the citizens of the grand jury sitting as an investigative panel to hear all the evidence and make the final call. Our office also shares with the public completed, independent investigative reports so that there will be no mystery about what occurred or rumors in a citizen’s death. This transparency gives our community an opportunity to correct errors — in policy, training, tactics, hiring, equipment — far more quickly, instead of waiting sometimes years until the opportunity and enthusiasm for reform are lost, the lessons are forgotten. Here, we want the lessons learned and applied.

Today the grand jury completed its thorough investigation of the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice on (Nov.) 22, 2014, at the Cuddell Recreation Center. Based on the evidence they heard and the law as it applies to police use of deadly force, the grand jury declined to bring criminal charges against Cleveland police officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. That was also my recommendation and that of our office after reviewing the investigation and the law.

A short time ago, we informed Tamir’s mother of the grand jury’s decision. It was a tough conversation. We again expressed the condolences of our office, the sheriff’s detectives and everyone else who has worked so diligently on this case and our sincere wish that these events on that traumatic day at the Cuddell rec center had unfolded differently. She was broken up, and it’s very hard. We explained to her that this was a difficult decision also but that to charge police, even in a situation that was as undeniably tragic as the death of her son, the state must be able to show that the officers acted outside the constitutional boundaries set forward by the Supreme Court of these United States.

Read more »

Marshall Project: Why Is the FBI So White? Bureau Could Use Diversity

By Simone Weichselbaum
The Marshall Project

Richard Garcia, the FBI assistant director in charge of the bureau’s Los Angeles office, was unfazed to learn in 2005 that the agency had agreed to cooperate in the making of a Hollywood film based on his work managing a rogue agent who was suspected of being a Russian spy. Garcia was two months from retiring, and says he “had already seen it all.”

Four years earlier, the bureau’s counterterrorism division had assigned Garcia to keep a close eye on an agent named Robert Hanssen, an operation that ended with Hanssen serving a life sentence in a federal supermax prison on espionage charges.

But Garcia was nonplussed when “Breach” was released in theaters in 2007. The Mexican-American law enforcement veteran — proudly the highest-ranking Latino in the FBI when he retired — was portrayed by the unmistakably Anglo actor, Gary Cole.

“They made me white,” Garcia says.

Hollywood may have gotten Richard Garcia wrong, but it got the FBI right. The bureau has historically been the least diverse of the majorfederal law-enforcement agencies, and, according to a recent breakdown of the FBI’s 13,455 special agents, decades of lawsuits and promises have not moved the needle on diversity.

The agency’s elite law-enforcement roster is 4.5 percent black, down from 5.7 percent in 1998 and 5.1 percent in 2008. Another 6.8 percent of special agents are Latino, down from 7.1 percent in 1998 and 7.9 percent in 2008, according to bureau statistics.

The higher you go up the agency ladder, the less likely you are to encounter men like Richard Garcia. Latinos make up 2.8 percent of the high-level managerial positions in the agency, according to an FBI spokeswoman. (Blacks make up 5 percent, and Asian-Americans are 2.5 percent.)

To read more click here. 

NBC Reports on Neo-Nazi Who May Have Been Targeting Black and Jewish Leaders in Metro Detroit

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

First Black Secret Service Agent Charles Gittens Dies at Age 82

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Being the first is always worth noting.

And that’s what Charles L. Gittens was — the first black Secret Service agent. He became an agent in 1956 and retired in 1979, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported reported that Gittens died on July 27 in Maryland. He was 82.

According to an obituary in The Herald-Sun of Durham, N.C., Gittens was first assigned to the Charlotte, N.C., office and he worked in New York City office investigating counterfeiting and bank fraud.

He was fluent in Spanish and worked in the San Juan, Puerto Rico bureau and the D.C. office in 1969.

AP reported that after retiring in 1979, he worked for the Justice Department investigating war criminals.

AP reported that Danny Spriggs, vice president of global security for The Associated Press who had been a Secret Service agent, called Gittens “just an outstanding guy.”

“He went out of his way to mentor and give counsel and advice to young African-Americans who were coming up, especially those like myself who were coming up through the ranks.”

“The guy was always physically fit. He looked like he came out of the gym. His whole persona was one of professionalism: no nonsense guy.”

Column: Barry Bonds Fed Trial About “America’s Discomfort With Prominent, Powerful, Wealthy Black Men”

Editors Note: The jury in the Bond’s case begins its fourth day of deliberations on Wednesday. He faces charges of making false statements to a grand jury about steroid use and obstruction of justice.

By WILLIAM C. RHODEN
The New York Times

The trial of Barry Bonds has always been more than a simple case of pursuing a bad guy and proving that he lied. The chase and the subsequent trial have been as much about a baseball era driven by vanity and greed, and fueled by performance-enhancing drugs.

But the eight-year pursuit of Bonds also reflects America’s discomfort with prominent, powerful, wealthy black men.

That might seem like an incredible statement to make in a nation that elected Barack Obama as its first black president. But Obama, who has had his citizenship questioned and has been heckled by a member of Congress, has a place among men including Jack Johnson, Paul Robeson, Muhammad Ali and Bonds.

In good conscience one could never put Bonds on par with Ali or Robeson and certainly not with the president of the United States.

Bonds’s historical antecedent is Jack Johnson, who became the first black heavyweight champion in 1908.

Johnson lived a fast, unapologetic lifestyle. He incensed some blacks and enraged many whites by openly keeping company exclusively with white prostitutes and marrying at least one.

To read more click here.

Ex-FBI Agent Responds to Column

Greg Stejskal served as an FBI agent for 31 years and retired as resident agent in charge of the Ann Arbor office. He writes a column for ticklethewire.com. Stejskal sent this response to William Rhoden and shared it with ticklethewire.com. The response below by Alan Gershel was also sent to Rhoden and shared with ticklethewire.com.

The author (right) Greg Stejskal and University of Michigan coach Bo Schembechler

By Greg Stejskal

I generally agree with your premise about the prosecution of Barry Bonds as a misuse of money, but I think it’s a bit of a stretch to compare the Bonds prosecution to that of Jack Johnson.

If Bonds did lie to the Grand Jury, it is a felony and arguably the Grand Jury process would not be viable if witnesses were allowed to lie under oath with impunity.

There is precedent for such prosecutions of perjury in similar circumstances. In the Michigan Fab 5 case, only Chris Webber, of all the University of Michigan players who testified, lied about having received money from Eddie Martin. Those that admitted having received the money were not prosecuted. Webber was prosecuted for perjury and he ultimately pleaded to a felony.

In the FBI steroid case (Equine) I was involved in, we did not pursue users no matter whether they were high-profile athletes. We focused only on the dealers, but at the culmination of the case in 1994, I warned MLB (Major League Baseball) about the problem and was ignored.

I’ve often wondered if we shouldn’t have prosecuted some of the athletes. In the long run it might have avoided some of these problems.

I wrote a piece about why Roger Clemens should be prosecuted. Despite what you say about that prosecution being forced on the Department of Justice, I think the arguments I make apply to both cases.   (Here’s a column I wrote on the steroid problem and Clemens)

Ex-Federal Prosecutor Alan Gershel Also Responds

Alan Gershel worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for nearly 30 years, and was chief of the Criminal Division from 1989 to 2008. He is currently a full-time professor at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills, Mi.

Alan Gershel/cooley law school photo

By Alan Gershel

Dear Mr. Rhoden: as a former federal prosecutor, I read your article regarding the prosecution of Barry Bonds with great interest. You have stated that Barry Bonds was prosecuted for his “unlikability” and that the government’s effort”was a colossal misuse of time and money…”

You also seem to suggest that protecting a grand jury investigation is an “altruistic goal” not worth pursuing. I respectfully disagree. The prosecution of Barry Bonds is eminently justifiable.

A grand jury investigation is a search for the truth. Its success depends almost entirely on witnesses, who have been placed under oath and who are advised of the consequences should they fail to do so, telling the

truth. Perjurious testimony is an anathema to a search for the truth.

I am assuming we can agree that the nature and scope of the government’s investigation was a serious and legitimate one. If you do concur, then witnesses who may have information regarding the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in Major League Baseball are legitimate witnesses. Once called and placed under oath, they cannot intentionally lie with impunity.This is what the prosecution is about.

It is not about the personality or race of Mr. Bonds. To have ignored his alleged false testimony, would have been giving Mr. Bonds favorable treatment because of his celebrity or the government’s fear of controversy. An unacceptable result, assuming there was sufficient evidence to prosecute.

Finally, an important deterrent message flows from a case of this nature that hopefully will have an impact on future investigations.

Fed Prosecutor Says Holocaust Museum Shooter Still Too Ill for Court Appearance

I imagine some white supremacists are proud that 88-year-old James W. von Brunn shot and killed a black man at a Jewish museum. But are they still proud of him now that the FBI has found child pornography on his computer?

holocaust-museum-2

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — The 88-year-old white supremacist charged with murder in the killing of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this month was discharged from George Washington University Hospital last week but is too ill to appear in court, federal prosecutors said yesterday.

Since Friday, James W. von Brunn has been treated in a secure ward at United Medical Center, authorities said. At a brief hearing yesterday, federal prosecutor Nicole Waid said doctors indicated that von Brunn might be well enough to attend a court hearing early next week.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Facciola set a hearing for Tuesday morning.

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